Channel, Networking

Why SMBs Need VPN Protection, Now More Than Ever

The trend towards remote work models has been steadily picking up momentum for years, and now global health challenges have essentially put the remote work pedal to the metal. Companies of all sizes have hurriedly transitioned to this new remote paradigm...and in so doing, often overlooked key security vulnerabilities.

Removed from the well-protected environment of their organization’s intranet and internal network, employees who work remotely or on-the-go typically utilize their home Wi-Fi networks or high-risk, unsecured Wi-Fi connections (at coffee shops, hotels, airports and other public locations) to connect to the internet. Using these unsafe connections to access their company’s network, such users unwittingly invite corporate data exposure, credential theft, ransomware and more.

But SMBs are Ignored by Hackers, Right?

Nope. Don’t make the mistake of assuming cybercriminals only go after the largest enterprises, boasting thousands of employees and millions of customers. In fact, SMBs are particularly attractive targets precisely because they believe they are too small to attract the attention of hackers (and hence lack adequate security protections). As the statistics below show, this belief is both erroneous and potentially dangerous to business survival:

  • 58% of data breach victims are small businesses, according to the 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report from Verizon, 2018.
  • 53% of midmarket companies (250-499 employees) have experienced a data breach, according to the 2018 Security Capabilities Benchmark Study from Cisco, 2018.
  • 53% of small businesses would be unprofitable within one month if they permanently lost access to essential data, according to the 2017 State of Cybersecurity Among Small Businesses in North America report from the Better Business Bureau, 2017.

This cybercriminal predilection for attacking smaller businesses, coupled with the past year’s huge uptick in remote users among SMBs and MSPs’ clients, makes any online security weaknesses potentially devastating. Consider the unofficial crook credo: Criminality plus vulnerability equals opportunity.

The solution? A Virtual Private Network (VPN) enables SMBs, MSPs and their clients to protect their businesses from hackers seeking to steal their personal information and their company’s intellectual property. Because they run in the background, operate automatically and are totally transparent to remote users, VPNs deliver true “set it and forget it” online security for small businesses.

VPN: How It Works

In a nutshell, a VPN functions by tunneling to a remote server that provides complete end-to-end encryption of all data that passes through it. Once the VPN app is installed on your users’ remote devices (desktops, laptops, smartphones or tablets), those devices can automatically route through the VPN whenever an untrusted Wi-Fi connection is in use, creating a layer of protection between your company data and cybercriminals.

When using a VPN, all of your users’ internet traffic appears to come from the VPN provider’s servers. Internet requests are first sent to the VPN server through an encrypted tunnel, and then forwarded to the public internet; the originating IP address is replaced by one of the VPN provider’s multiple shared IP addresses. Thus any attempt to trace the IP address of the original request is stymied, revealing only one of many IP addresses on the VPN provider’s servers.

Choosing the Right VPN

While the security benefits of any VPN solution are clearly a key consideration, it’s essential to also evaluate its deployment and management requirements. For example, some VPN providers require costly onsite hardware to host their VPN endpoints, which can entail complex configuration procedures that are beyond the technical capabilities of many SMBs.

By contrast, VIPRE is a cloud-based VPN; because all hardware is cloud-hosted, there’s no infrastructure for you to set up or manage, saving you the cost of investing in additional hardware and tech support. Simply install the client application (the only configuration requirement for setup is entering a username and password) and your end users are immediately protected.

VIPRE also gives clients access to 70+ public endpoints, and can create private endpoints dedicated to them with just the click of a button (these can be created worldwide with fourteen locations across six continents). Billing is equally flexible, with no long-term contract commitment required. Everything is billed month-to-month, and team accounts only pay per-user each month.

Guest blog courtesy of VIPRE Security. Read more guest blogs from VIPRE Security here.